Archive for August 2008

Farmers’ Market Ends on Friday: Blondie and Brownie remind everybody that this is the last week for the Rock Center Farmers' Market, next to the rink, between 50+51st (and 5th+6th avenues.)  Friday will be the last day you can pick up fruit, veggies, cheese, sweets and more.

Comment of the Day: MFC asking about a generic deli recommended by today's Profiled:Midtown Lunch'er: "Why did Dunhill name itself Dunhill? Was poomountain already taken?”

Taco-Gate 2008: Toloache Pulls the Plug on Takeout


So it appears as if the real big problems at Toloache’s $1 taco celebration were mostly contained to the first hour.  Once they got rolling in the kitchen, things seemed to settle down a bit.  There was a line, but my to go order came out in less than 10 minutes and there were many reports of people getting more tacos than they ordered.  Case in point: me.  As you can see from the photo above, my tacos didn’t quite make it back to the office in perfect condition, but damn were they tasty.  Small, but tasty- and well worth the $1 price tag. Downing 7 for lunch was no problem.  I paid for 9, and ended up getting 11.  Score for me. Oh, and brisket was replaced by pork on the menu. Double score.

Unfortunately the early excitement of the Midtown Lunch community has ruined it for the rest of the day, and according to the restaurant they will no longer be doing $1 taco take out orders today.  (Naturally, you are free to order from the regular menu though.) You are more than welcome to come and eat $1 tacos in the restaurant, but you cannot take them to go. The promotion goes on until 11pm, and they do take reservations, so I would recommend calling ahead (212-581-1818).  Of course the way things are going today, maybe they’ll change their mind again… who the hell knows.  For once it would be nice for a restaurant to have a plan. $1 Tacos + Midtown Lunch’ers = (in the words of Eater) “a bit of a shitshow”.  Good luck to the after work crowd…

At Lunch Now: Taco Pandemonium

It’s pandemonium at Toloache with early arrivers getting to place to go orders… but by 12:30 the line was about 15 deep with nobody providing any information at all. They stopped taking any take out orders at 12:30, but they were seating people at tables (if one is available and you’ve waited in line long enough to get to the front and actually talk to someone.) The promotion is supposed to last until 11pm but clearly they underestimated demand.

At 12:45 I saw the guy take a to go order from somebody, but he told them it would be 30 mins. If you got turned away consider yourselves lucky. I talked to one person who placed a take out order at the door at 11:30 and just got their tacos at 12:40.

12:50 There is no more line, and the guy takes my to go order, tells me I can order more than 7 if I want, and told me it would 10 mins, maybe less. Somehow I doubt it.

12:52 The line is out the door again, and lord knows what the guy is telling people now.

Try later, and you may get lucky, but clearly this promotion is a poorly planned free for all.

UPDATE: Got my tacos in less than 10 mins. What a delightful surprise… full report coming soon.

$1 Taco Update:Toloache Not Answering Phone: 12:06pm - Just called to place an order for my $1 tacos.  Sent to voicemail.  Voicemail transfers me to operator. Operator doesn't answer. Voicemail hangs up on me.  Call back.  During voicemail I press 0. Phone rings and rings. Asks me to leave a message. Taco fail. May have to walk down and see what is going on. Not good.  12:09 UPDATE:  They answered the phone.  "Sorry sir.  We are not taking orders at this moment.  We are very busy."  No shit.  What did you expect?

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Kristen”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. This week it’s Kristen, a vegetarian who seems to know a hell of alot about 45th St. btw. 6th & Broadway.

Name: Kristen


Systems Associate

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
An investment and technology development firm located near Times Square

Favorite Kind of Food:
Middle Eastern, Mediterranean

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
I can’t think of any cuisine that I categorically dislike, but I prefer savory food over sweets.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
I mostly patronize spots within a one-block radius of my office and I definitely have my regular dishes at each spot. I’m a vegetarian, a point which will soon become apparent. At Cranberry (on 45th btw. 6th+Bway) I like to get the avocado sandwich. The kind folk at Cranberry use a lot of avocado and also load the sandwich with other deli-type vegetables (lettuce, sprouts, cucumber, etc.) On mornings when I want a substantial breakfast, I’ll get the egg white wrap from Dunhill (also on 45th btw. 6+Bway). I believe it’s the #6. Dunhill puts an impressive amount of vegetables in the wrap and it costs something unholy like $3.50.

I’m going to give a shout-out to two kosher restaurants as they offer many great vegetarian options. My Most Favorite Food (also on 45th btw. 6+Bway) has a clandestine take-out room in the back that has great soup and salad options. Each day they typically offer two cold pasta salads, at least two vegetable salads, and two types of soup. The menu changes daily, so call in advance if foreknowledge matters to you. I usually just show up and order whatever they are offering that day. My favorite soup is the tomato basil. My favorite two salads are the fennel with parsley and celery salad and the broccoli slaw with almonds and dried cranberries. Milk & Honey (on 45th btw. 5+6th) has a great portobello mushroom panini aptly called “The Italian.” Every time I bring one back to my office, at least one coworker invariably asks about it. Basically, people can not control themselves around “The Italian.”

For Middle Eastern, there are two pretty good restaurants kind of nearby: Akdeniz (46th btw. 5+6th) and Marrakesh (53rd btw. 2+3rd). I usually order their food via Seamless Web because both are bona-fide restaurants and I don’t want to go in person to such places since I would have to wait for my food to be prepared. Also, who doesn’t like reading the expertly-composed descriptions on Seamless Web? Akdeniz has a great stuffed eggplant dish plus amazing complimentary bread. Marrakesh has a variety of delicious vegetarian platters.

Finally, I love the fruit stand (in my photo) on 44th near the northwest corner of 44th and 6th. First, they use no dairy or added sweeteners in their smoothies. Second, you can create your own smoothie selecting from almost any type of fruit you would typically find in the Northeast, plus savory spa-type ingredients, such as parsley. Third, they are insanely cheap ($3 for a small smoothie, $4 for a large.) Oh, and they’re really friendly.

More after the jump… Read more »

Old Bridge Deli is Back Open: Emailed by Lunch'er Howard: "Old Bridge Deli (on 41st & Lex) reopened today. Don't know if I'd trust the freshness of stuff yet, since the food there is at least 9 days old."  We'll take that under advisement...

Don’t Get Too Excited For Schnitzi

Last week the New York Times reported that Schnitzi (a Brooklyn schnitzel shop) was planning on opening a branch in the Diamond District in Midtown. After taking a look at the menu, I got pretty excited for the prospect of sesame coated chinese style schnitzel (Schnitzi does a lot of crazy versions of schnitzel.) Unfortunately I talked to the owner, and while he would love to open an outpost in Midtown, he doesn’t actually have a space or immediate plans to obtain one.  At the earliest, we may see a Schnitzi in 6 months. In the meatime you’ll have to make due with Kosher Deluxe (45th btw. 5+6th), or for the german version- Hallo Berlin Express (9th Ave. btw. 49+50th).


Comment of the Day: Posted by Rudy McBagel about my lunch review of Tad's Steaks: "It’s like the first 25 minutes of Saving Private Ryan."

Tuesday is $1 Taco Day at Toloache

Molleja Tacos @ Toloache, Midtown NYC

I love it when expensive restaurants slum with the Midtown Lunch’ers. Toloache, the expensive but inventive Mexican restaurant on 50th btw. Bway+8th, will be celebrating its one year anniversary tomorrow by selling $1 tacos all day long. They have an extensive menu of tacos (including grasshoppers), but only these 3 will be available for $1:

Pollo (chicken breast adobado, pico de gallo, manchego cheese)
Suadero (Negra Modelo-braised brisket, tomatillo salsa, horseradish crema)
Hongos y Nopales (Maitake & huitlacoche mushrooms, cactus, doble crema cheese)

There is a limit of 7 tacos per person (clearly they were afraid of the Midtown Lunch’ers) but they allow you to eat in, or take your order to go. For a place as good as Toloache, selling their tacos at $2 would be a lunchtime bargain. For $1, they’re literally giving them away. Don’t miss out. 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Toloache, 251 W. 50th St. (btw. B’way+8th) 212-581-1818